“Ears that hear and eyes that see – the Lord has made them both.” – Proverbs 20:12
Several years ago while struggling to discern what to do next after leaving my thirty year corporate career it was suggested to me that my creativity had been suppressed from so many years of working in a large organization and in a highly regulated industry, causing me to become too linear in my thinking. Hearing that message was a watershed moment for me, exactly what I needed to hear. It’s as if the scales fell off my eyes, as scripture describes the Apostle Paul’s experience after encountering Christ on the road to Damascus. For the first time perhaps since adolescence I had ears and eyes that began to hear and see life from the heart as well as the mind. No longer confined by tunnel vision I began to see and hear in a new way, openly and relationally. And I started to become something I never dreamed I could be – an artist.
In her inspiring book The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity Julia Cameron describes art as “not about thinking something up. It is about the opposite – getting something down. . . If we are trying to think something up, we are straining to reach for something that’s just beyond our grasp, up there, in the stratosphere, where art lives on high . . . When we get something down, there is no strain. We’re not doing; we’re getting. . . Instead of reaching for inventions, we are engaged in listening.”
For the longest time I believed artists to be those gifted individuals with the ability to paint, sculpt, compose music or write poetry. But before putting brush to canvas, hands to clay, notes to tunes or poetry to paper artists are first of all listeners and seers, with ears to hear and eyes to see. They pay attention to life.
Having no ability to paint, sculpt, compose or write I never dreamed of myself as an artist – until that watershed moment. That’s when I began to see and hear what is going on around me and in the world and discovered that I too have the ability to express and interpret what I see and hear, but in different ways – through the way I live, how I treat others, what I teach and model to my children and grandchildren, caring for and loving others. That too is art, which makes me an artist. . . . And so are you.